Sony unveils new Vaio lineup with Windows XP

Sony Corp. unveiled a new lineup of its Vaio PCs carrying Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP operating system at Vaio Forum 2001 in Tokyo on Friday. The company is pursuing its strategy of making Vaio more entertaining and networkable with the inclusion of the operating system upgrade.

Keiji Kimura, president of Mobile Network Company and corporate vice president of Sony, emphasized the importance of Bluetooth and IEEE802.11b wireless networking technologies in the current range, and spoke of the potential of the faster IEEE802.11a wireless technology for home use in the future.

He also spoke of the compatibility of Windows XP as the operating system for Vaio PCs, noting that the software natively supports Memory Stick, Sony's proprietary memory card format, and the IEEE1394 high-speed peripheral interface that the company is promoting as the iLink interface in its products.

Sony and Microsoft are taking their products in similar directions, said President of Microsoft Japan Shinichi Ata.

"For the last two years, we worked with Sony as a partner to develop Windows XP," he said. "When I met Mr. Kimura two years ago, he told me that he wants Vaio to be networked with visual and audio devices. We have the same concept on Windows XP."

A total of 36 new models, 20 desktop PCs and 16 notebook PCs, were announced.

Among them, one of the most notable desktop models is the PCV-MXS1L5, an audio-oriented desktop PC that is equipped with a MiniDisc drive for recording and playing compressed digital music -- the first time this has appeared in a Vaio model, according to Tomio Takizawa, a spokesman for Sony.

One of the more remarkable notebooks is the PCG-SRX7, which features both Bluetooth and IEEE802.11b wireless connections. "More users now want to use their PCs wirelessly, at home or even at places like Internet cafes where you can make a wireless connection to the Internet," Takizawa said.

The C1 series notebooks also feature Bluetooth wireless connections.

Prices range from 130,000 yen (US$1070) for the bottom-of-the range PCV-J21V5 desktop to 450,000 yen for the PCV-RX73L6 desktop, Takizawa said.

Details of all 36 new models are available at http://www.vaio.sony.co.jp/.

The models will go on sale from October through November in Japan, and, in addition, five Vaio-related peripherals will also roll out through December, the company announced. Specifications of the Vaio models vary in each region, but Vaio PCs loaded with Windows XP will roll out within this year in the rest of the world, and some models are already released in North America., the company said.

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